Meryl: Fall 2020

Rehabilitation Center: BOS Nyaru Menteng
Date of arrival: 7 January 2015
Age on arrival: 8 months
Current age: 6 years
Current school position: Socialization Complex
Gender: Female
Health Status: Healthy

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BOS Foundation has introduced several new policies at the rehabilitation centers, including in Nyaru Menteng, Central Kalimantan. The most important steps initially taken were to close the Information Centre to visitors and to apply stricter health protocols.

Staff members are now temperature-checked at the gated entrance prior to conducting their daily activities; and those who interact closely with orangutans are required to wear face masks, gloves, and boots. Hand-washing stations stocked with soap have been set up at various locations around the centre.

Members of our enrichment and technician teams, donned in PPE, busily wash the vegetables and fruits brought in by local farmers. This produce is then sliced and hidden inside enrichment balls for the orangutans to engage with. One can only imagine the commotion when enrichment tools are distributed to the orangutans in the enclosures!

Technicians quickly drop the vegetable-filled balls in the complexes; there is always one ball per orangutan. Not surprisingly, the orangutans are quick to move forward and take their share. Even when Meryl is busily dangling on a rubber rope, she will quickly grab an enrichment ball and take it to a corner to enjoy uninterrupted. She has become very skilled at extracting fruits and vegetables from these enrichment balls with her mouth!

Meryl has a healthy appetite and will eat all types of vegetables and fruits. We hope you are enjoying the challenge of finding them in the enrichment balls, Meryl!

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Everyone agrees that Meryl is one of the smartest orangutans at BOS Nyaru Menteng. Over five years of Forest School, she was able to master all her basic skills, and was courageous enough to venture deep into the forest. After graduating from Forest School last year, Meryl entered the SocialiZation Complex alongside several other orangutans.

In the SocialiZation Complex, Meryl and the other orangutans continue to develop their skills by working on enrichment tools provided twice daily by the enrichment team. All the orangutans in the complex eagerly await the enrichment tools every morning and afternoon.

Every day, the enrichment team creates different types of enrichment tools at varying levels of difficulty, to constantly challenge the orangutans to find new ways to solve problems. This helps them build on their survival skills. Meryl likes the bamboo enrichments filled with mashed pumpkin. She will examine the bamboo carefully to find the easiest way to extract and enjoy its filling. She often uses twigs to extract the pumpkin hidden inside the bamboo tubes.

Among her friends, Meryl might appear to be the most calm and quiet individual, but she won't hesitate to defend her enrichment items or her food if other orangutans try to snatch them away from her! She is a role model for her peers, especially when it comes to working on enrichment tools.

Meryl consistently shows her intelligence at every opportunity. Her skills are more than capable of taking her to the final stage of rehabilitation: time on a pre-release island. But, she will need to be patient and wait a little longer in the Socialization Complex, until the time is right to move to an island.

Hang in there, Meryl! The forest awaits!